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Full text of "Socialization and participation in the arts"

SOCIALIZATION 

AND 

PARTICIPATION 

IN THE ARTS 



Richard J. Orend 



SOCIALIZATION 
AND 

PARTICIPATION 
IN THE ARTS 



SOCIALIZATION 

AND 

PARTICIPATION 

IN THE ARTS 



Richard J. Orend 



Socialization and Participation in the Arts is Research Division 
Report #21 in a series on matters of interest to the arts community 
commissioned by the Research Division of the National Endowment 
for the Arts. 

Published by the National Endowment for the Arts, Research 
Division, under Grant NEA C86-179 

Edited by Patricia H. Marks 
Designed by Judith Martin Waterman 

Typeset and printed on acid-free paper by Princeton University 
Press, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Orend, Richard J. 

Socialization and participation in the arts. 

(Research Division report ; #21) 

1. Arts audiences — United States. 2. Arts surveys — United States. 
3. Arts and society — United States. 

I. Title. II. Series: Research Division report (National Endowment 
for the Arts. Research Division) ; 21. 
NX220.074 1988 700'. 1 '03 88-17973 

First edition, March 1989 



APPENDIX 



Readers of this report may wish to obtain more information 
about the details of the study conducted by Dr. RichardJ. Orend 
and about related research projects conducted for the Research 
Division of the National Endowment for the Arts. The follow- 
ing reports are available through the Education Research Infor- 
mation Center (ERIC) system: 



•5* RichardJ. Orend, "Socialization in the Arts." April 
22, 1987. ERIC Identification Number: ED 283 768. 

•!• John Robinson, et al. , "Public Participation in the 
Arts: Final Report on the 1982 Survey." Survey Research 
Center, University of Maryland, January 1986. ERIC Iden- 
tification Number: ED 264 168. 

*l* Alan R. Andreason and Russell W. Belk, "Con- 
sumer Response to Arts Offerings: A Study of Theater and 
Symphony in Four Southern Cities." University of Illinois, 
September 1978. ERIC Identification Number: ED 230 450. 

•!• Richard J. Orend, "Leisure Participation in the 
South, 1980." Volume I: Results; Volume II: Appendices; 
Volume III: Summary. Human Resources Research Orga- 
nization, July 1980. ERIC Identification Numbers: ED 206 
521, ED 206 522, and ED 206 523. 

* John S. Reed and Peter V. Marsden, "Leisure Time 
Use in the South: A Secondary Analysis, 1980." University 
of North Carolina, 1980. ERIC Identification Number: ED 
221 435. 

These documents are the original research reports as prepared by 
the investigators. They contain extensive information about 
methods, and numerous tables and figures. The ERIC collection 
is available at hundreds of libraries in the U.S.A. and abroad, as 



54 Appendix 

well as "on-line" from computerized information services. Re- 
quests for information about the purchase of microfiche or xerox 
copies of these reports should be sent to: ERIC Document Re- 
production Services (EDRS), Consumer Service, P.O. Box 190, 
Arlington, Virginia 22210. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER ONE 



CHAPTER TWO 



CHAPTER THREE 



CHAPTER FOUR 



CHAPTER FIVE 



CHAPTER SIX 



LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES IX 

Why Do People Participate in the Arts? i 

Socialization in the Arts 5 

Participation in the Arts 19 

The Relationship between Socialization and 
Participation in the Arts 29 

Contrary Cases 45 

Art, Artists, and the Public 49 



APPENDIX 53 



LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES 



TABLE I 
TABLE 2 

TABLE 3 

TABLE 4 



TABLE 


5 


TABLE 


6 


TABLE 


7 


TABLE 


8 


TABLE 


9 


TABLE 


10 


TABLE 


ii 


TABLE 


12 


FIGURE 


, I 


FIGURE 


, 2 


FIGURE 


3 


FIGURE 


4 


FIGURE 


5 



Basic Socialization Experiences: Lessons 7 

Basic Socialization Experiences: Appreciation 
Classes 8 

Basic Socializaton Experiences: Home Exposure 
and Attendance 9 

Illustrating the Point System for Indexing 
Socialization Experiences 12 

Socialization Index: Lessons 12 

Socialization Index: Appreciation Classes 13 

Childhood Attendance at Concerts, Plays, and 
Other Arts-Related Events 13 

Combined Index of Socialization 14 

Socialization Experiences by Age Group at Time 
of sppa Interview 16 

Participation during the Previous Year 20 

Direct Participation in the Arts during the 
Previous Year 21 

Indices of Participation in the Arts During the 
Previous Year 24-25 

Indices of Participation by Age Groups 26 

Relationship of Music Lessons to Listening to 
Music on TV, Radio, or Records 30 

Relationship of Music Lessons to Attendance at 
Performances 3 1 

Relationship of Music Lessons to Performing 
Music 32 

Relationship of Mus'ic Lessons to the Index of 
Current Musical Participation 35 



CHAPTER ONE 



Why Do People Participate in the Arts? 




ABOUT A CENTURY AGO Sir John Lubbock, 
Lord Avebury, declared that "art is unquestionably 
one of the purest and highest elements in human 
happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and 
the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flow- 
ers, so does art color life." 1 

Do 20th-century Americans share this romantic view of art? 
Why do people participate in arts-related activities? For those of 
us already involved, one answer seems obvious: With Sir John, 
we believe that the arts — music, painting, sculpture, drama, and 
dance — add excitement and joy to our lives. Most of us, espe- 
cially arts educators and administrators, would like to share those 
experiences with as many of our fellow-citizens as possible. 
There is a second answer, however, perhaps even more impor- 
tant: Modern society requires competence in acquiring informa- 
tion both visually and aurally. One need only think of the mul- 
titudes of diagrams we confront when we attempt to assemble 
holiday toys for our children, or recall the quantities of infor- 
mation we acquire by word of mouth, to know that without the 
kinds of literacy provided by training in the arts we cannot func- 
tion properly. 

Others do not share our perspective. For many people, the arts 
play little or no conscious role in life; sometimes they are seen as 
minor diversions in a crowded schedule of work and leisure ac- 
tivities. Why do these differences in attitude and behavior exist? 
And, given the belief that the arts can provide all that Sir John 
suggests and more, what can be done to increase the level of 
awareness and involvement among all members of our society? 

1 Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury, The Pleasures of Life. 2 vols. (London: Mac- 
millan, 1889), Vol. 2, p. 80. 



2 Why People Participate 

We cannot begin to answer these questions unless we first have 
a basic understanding of current patterns of participation in the 
arts. Why do we choose a certain level of participation in one or 
more of the arts? Is there demand for increased opportunities to 
take part in arts-related activities, and if so, what are the barriers 
to such participation? 

While the capacity to recognize and appreciate beauty may be 
inborn in all of us, participation in the arts as audience or artists 
usually involves a learning process. What is the relationship be- 
tween childhood and early adult experiences with the arts and 
later participation? 

In 1982, with funding from the National Endowment for the 
Arts, the Census Bureau conducted a "Survey of Public Partici- 
pation in the Arts" (sppa) to gather information on which prelim- 
inary answers to all of these questions can be based. The Novem- 
ber and December interviews produced 2,678 valid responses to 
the complete sppa questionnaire. In the present study, data from 
these two months of the survey have been used to examine 
whether early exposure to the arts is related to participation later 
in life. 2 

But what do we mean by "exposure," and is it an adequate 
term to describe the process by which people come to love and 
enjoy the arts? Those who study the workings of society think 
not; they prefer to use the word "socialization" to describe the 
relationship between early arts-related experiences and later par- 
ticipation in the arts. Socialization has been defined as the process 
by which individuals — usually children and teenagers — acquire 
various orientations, attitudes, and patterns of behavior that will 
persist when they become adults. 3 

The sppa data collected from a national sample permits analysis 
of three basic subjects: the patterns of socialization in the arts, the 
relationship of those patterns to adult participation in arts-related 
activities, and the relationship of socialization patterns to de- 
mand for increased participation. But before trying to under- 

2 For information about obtaining the full results of the original study, please 
refer to the Appendix. 

3 David Easton and Jack Dennis, Children and the Political System (New York: 



* X _/"" tt:ii t> 1. r^ ~ ~~/C~\ _ „ 



stand how early experiences relate to later behavior, it is neces- 
sary to define and describe the behavior being analyzed. 

What exactly do we mean by "arts-related activities?"For prac- 
tical reasons, we defined participation as attendance at live per- 
formances (jazz, classical music, ballet, operas, musicals, and 
plays), visits to art museums and galleries, watching or listening 
to these arts-related programs on television, radio, or records, 
and participating directly in similar activities as performers or 
artists. The broad definition was used because Americans gener- 
ally recognize these terms, and such recognition allowed us to 
communicate easily with our respondents in the context of a sur- 
vey interview. It also allowed us to make a systematic examina- 
tion of the relationship between adult participation and those ear- 
lier experiences in the arts which we have called "socialization." 

Analysis of the data gleaned from the sppa allowed us to test 
two hypotheses: 

*l* There is a relationship between earlier arts-related 
experiences and later participation, either as consumer or 
producer, in the arts. 

*l* Those individuals with a greater number of youth- 
' ful experiences are likely to have higher rates of participation 
in arts-related activities as adults. 

These hypotheses are said to express "relationships" because the 
sppa data cannot establish the fact that early experience with arts- 
related activities causes higher levels of participation later in life. 
We can, however, identify those experiences and, to some extent, 
measure their relative intensity. We can also analyze the existence 
and level of participation across activities as diverse as attending 
the opera and creating a painting. When we compare information 
about childhood activities with the information collected about 
adult activities, we can answer some questions about the links 
between socialization and adult participation in arts-related activ- 
ities. The pattern which emerges can suggest policies and strate- 
gies likely to increase public participation in the arts. 

But what about those individuals whose behavior differs from 
the prevailing pattern? We all know people who had little or no 
exposure to the arts as children or young adults, and who never- 



4 Why People Participate 

theless participate in arts-related activities. We also know people 
with the opposite characteristics: high levels of early socialization 
who no longer have anything to do with the arts. Again, using 
the sppa data, we can learn something about them which may be 
useful in our efforts to increase participation. 

Finally, data gleaned from the sppa can tell us something about 
how those earlier socialization experiences are related to current 
demand for broader opportunities to participate in the arts, and 
about the obstacles encountered. This analysis extends the study 
of socialization to include the possibility for changing the behav- 
ior of those who express a desire to color their lives with art. 



CHAPTER TWO 



Socialization in the Arts 




THOSE OF US WHO ARE COMMITTED to 
the arts find it difficult to understand how anyone 
who has seen a great painting, experienced the ex- 
citement of drama or dance, or listened to a splen- 
did symphony could resist enchantment. Art en- 
gages our emotions as well as our senses, and we assume that 
others must be similarly moved. We also assume — perhaps too 
readily — that anyone who has been exposed to art must surely 
want to participate in the arts ever thereafter. 

As Sir John Lubbock so aptly observed, art is one of the great 
pleasures of life, as well as a practical necessity. Others have made 
more extravagant claims. Charles Fairbanks, for example, be- 
lieved that "Art is the surest and safest civilizer. . . . Open your 
galleries of art to the people, and you confer on them a greater 
benefit than mere book education; you give them a refinement to 
which they would otherwise be strangers." 1 Like those of us who 
are committed to the arts, Fairbanks was convinced that mere 
exposure to art would have lifelong effects. In other words, he 
used a certain type of "socialization model" to explain at least one 
aspect of human behavior. 

The socialization model as we have defined it here suggests 
that our current behavior is, in part, a function of youthful learn- 
ing experiences. In particular, arts-related experiences are said to 
create an understanding of and appreciation for the arts that will 
lead us to participate more as adults. But what precisely are those 
experiences that "socialize" us? Are some more effective social- 
izes than others? Does it make a difference when during our 

'Charles B. Fairbanks, My Unknown Chum (New York: The Devin-Adair Co., 



6 Socialization 

youth those experiences take place? And how about the quality 
and intensity of experience? 

The first step in the analysis of socialization is to use the data 
available in the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (sppa) 
to find out how people are socialized, and to what extent. The 
sppa asked 1 1 questions about arts-related experiences occurring 
prior to age 24. The questions covered three basic kinds of ex- 
periences: 

••• Lessons, including those in music, visual arts, act- 
ing, ballet, creative writing, and crafts; 

•!• Appreciation classes in both music and art; and 
•5* Attendance at arts-related events, including plays, 
classical concerts or dance performances, exhibitions in art 
galleries or museums, and hearing classical music or opera 
played in the home. 

The three questions on the sppa about attendance asked only how 
often such arts-related experiences had taken place during the re- 
spondent's entire youth. The eight questions on lessons and 
appreciation classes attempted to elicit more information, asking 
the age at which those experiences had taken place: when the re- 
spondents were younger than 12, between 12 and 17, or from 18 
to 24 years old. The age categories thus correspond roughly to 
three stages of schooling: elementary, high school, and college. 
No attempt was made to find out how often young people in 
each age group were given lessons or appreciation classes, nor 
w x as there any way to assess the quality of the experience. 

Table 1 evokes images of little girls in tutus and teenagers in 
high-school plays, of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts earning merit 
badges in crafts. Clearly, many people take certain kinds of les- 
sons — and not others — during each period of youth. More than 
half of all those who took ballet lessons, for example, did so be- 
fore age 12, while acting lessons are more common between ages 
12 and 17. After age 18, music lessons are rare indeed. Most sur- 
prising, perhaps, is the fact that so few had lessons of any kind 
during more than one of the three periods of their youth. 

Table 2 tells us that art and music appreciation classes are also 
/-1/^c^hr r<A-ytf*A tr\ acr^- While fpwpr than 20% of the resoondents 



Socialization 7 



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Socialization 9 

took such classes, they tended to do so between the ages of 18 
and 24. The response pattern suggests that this type of arts-re- 
lated activity takes place in college, and is likely to have been 
voluntary. We have no way of knowing, however, why people in 
that age group elected to take such classes. 

Art lessons and appreciation classes are, of course, the most 
formal means of socialization in the arts. Less formal, but per- 
haps equally important, are those experiences which teach young 
people to be "consumers" of art. Table 3 describes socialization 
experiences in the form of attendance at arts events and exposure 
to classical music in the home. Here, sppa results do not tell us at 
what age those experiences took place; they do indicate, how- 
ever, that roughly 70% of the respondents had no such exposure 
to the arts while they were growing up. They also tell us that, 
for the overwhelming majority of the remaining 30%, such ex- 
periences were only occasional. 

So far, analysis of the sppa data has provided some interesting 
insights about individuals and their socialization in the arts. 
These individual indicators provide a three-dimensional perspec- 
tive on socialization experiences. The first dimension tells us 
whether or not the individual had a certain experience. The sec- 
ond dimension focuses on when — at what period of the person's 
youth — two types of experience occurred. The third dimension 
is somewhat more complicated. By looking at multiple experi- 
ences within each of the three types (lessons, appreciation classes, 



Table 3. Basic Socialization Experiences: Home Exposure and 

Attendance 





Never 


Occasionally 


Often 


Parents or other adults 








listened to classical 








music or opera 


71.2% 


20.5% 


8.3% 


Taken to art museums 








or galleries 


67.9 


27.6 


4.6 


Taken to plays, dance 








or classical music 




• 




performances 


69.5 


25.7 


4.8 



io Socialization 

and exposure to the arts), and finding out whether the experi- 
ences took place during one or more of the age periods, the third 
dimension provides an indicator — albeit crude — of the depth of 
socialization in the arts. 

But "depth" is a qualitative word, and the sppa did not ask 
questions about the quality of arts-related experiences. How, 
then, did we construct that indicator of the depth of socializa- 
tion? 

To begin with, we created indices by assigning a score or value 
to each experience, whether lesson, appreciation class, or atten- 
dance at an art event. For example, an individual who had both 
music and acting lessons before the age of 12 would be given a 
score of 2, one "point" for each experience in a single time pe- 
riod. Another person may have had art lessons between the ages 
of 18 and 24, and music lessons during all three periods of his 
youth. That person would receive a total of 10 points, 3 for the 
art lessons and 7 for the music lessons. The more types of lessons 
a person has had, and the more those lessons occurred in all three 
periods of youth, the higher the score on the index. Thus, in this 
category of experience, an individual could earn a score ranging 
from zero (no lessons) to 42 (every kind of lesson during all three 
periods of youth). Similarly, an individual who took art appre- 
ciation classes could score as many as 14 points, while the range 
of scores for the home exposure and early attendance index is o 
to 6. 

At this point, three indices of the depth of arts-related experi- 
ences have been created: 

••• An index of the number and timeframe of lessons; 

•♦• An index of appreciation lessons taken during the 
same three timeframes; and 

••• An index of childhood attendance at concerts, 
plays, and other arts-related events. 

The fourth and final index combines all three of the above in- 
dices to create a single index indicating the degree of socialization 
each individual has experienced. The range of this index is from 
o (no socialization experiences) to 62 (the maximum number of 
experiences possible in all three of the time periods of youth). 



Socialization 1 1 

Did any individual who answered the questionnaire actually 
score 62? How many scored zero? How were the scores of all 
2,678 valid responses 2 distributed between o and 62? And what is 
the meaning of these masses of statistics? How 7 are we to interpret 
differences of a single point? 

Analysis is made much easier once each index is divided into 
categories based on the distribution of individual scores. 3 Cate- 
gories for the indices can be constructed by referring to the point- 
system set forth in Table 4. 

Tables 5 and 6 explain in more detail how those "socialization 
points" were awarded in each of the first two indices of arts-re- 
lated experience, lessons and appreciation classes. 

The third component of the combined socialization index — 
attendance at concerts, plays, and other arts-related events and 
exposure to classical music and opera while growing up — is dif- 
ferently constructed, as indicated in Tables 4 and 7. Table 4 in- 
dicates the number of points assigned to these experiences for the 
purpose of creating the combined socialization index (the fourth 
index), and Table 7 divides the two attendance experiences into 
eight categories in ascending order of intensity. 

Finally, by combining the data from the first, second, and third 
indices, we arrive at an index of "total socialization," one which 
measures — again crudely — a fourth dimension to the description 
of socialization experiences (Table 8). This fourth dimension, 
which groups experiences across different areas, may be labelled 
"breadth." 

Tables 5 to 8 give us a general indication of the distribution of 
socialization experiences in the population. The results are some- 
what dismaying: 43% of all respondents admit to having had no 
lessons of any sort. About 75% had no appreciation courses, and 

2 The number of valid responses used for each specific analysis mav vary 
slightly because of missing data. 

3 The difference between categories represents a hierarchical relationship. A 
higher score means greater breadth and/or depth of arts-related experiences, but 
there is no fixed ratio of category values: 4 is not twice as much as 2, nor does it 
represent a fixed level of increase. Given the diversity of dimensions being mea- 
sured and the imprecision of their measurement, a hierarchical indicator was the 
best that could be achieved. 



12 Socialization 

Table 4. Illustrating the Point System for Indexing Socialization 
Experiences 

Index 
Lessons 



Appreciation classes 



Home exposure and early attendance 3 
Combined index 



tegory 


No. of Points 





None 


1 


1-2 





3-5 


3 


6-10 


4 


11-42 





None 


1 


1-2 


2 


3-4 


3 


5-7 


4 


8-14 


— 


0-6 





None 


1 


1-3 


2 


4-6 


3 


7-11 


4 


12-62 



3 Points were allocated for each of three types of early exposure (Table 3) based on frequency, 
and added to the combined socialization index. Two points were scored for "often," one for 
"occasionally," and zero for "never," yielding a maximum score of 6. 



Table 5. 



Socialization Index: Lessons 



Category 



No lessons before age 25. 

1 One or 2 different lesson 
experiences before age 12 or 1 

lesson experience at age 12-17. (Score 1-2) 

2 Up to 5 different types of 
lessons before age 12, or other 
combination of lessons totaling 
5 points. Not including lessons 

in one area at ages 12-17 and 18-24. 

3 Six to 10 lesson socialization 
points. Must include lessons 
in at least 2 different areas. 

Could include lessons in 1 area for ' 
all 3 age groups. 

4 More than 10 lesson socialization 
points. Lessons in at least 2 areas 
for more than one age group. 



43.0% 



18.5% 



15.4% 



15.1% 



8.0% 



Socialization 13 

Table 6. Socialization Index: Appreciation Classes 

Category 

No appreciation classes. 74.9% 

1 Two class experiences before 
age 12 or 1 class experience 

between ages 12 and 17. (Score 1-3) 6.9% 

2 Two class experiences before 
age 18, or 2 experiences m same 
area before age 18 or 2 experiences 
with 1 between age 18 and 24. 

(Score 4-6) 8.6% 

3 As many as 3 experiences 
in 1 area or 1 experience at 

any age in each area. (Score 7-11) 8.0% 

4 Experiences in both areas 
with the majority occurring late 

in youth. (Score 8-14) 1.7% 



Table 7. Childhood Attendance at Concerts, Plays, and Other Arts- 
Related Events 

Category 3 

None • 57.4% 

Went to art museums or galleries occasionally 11.4% 

Attended performances occasionally 9.2% 

Went to art museums or galleries often .8% 

Attended performances often 1.3% 

Both activities occasionally 14.4% 

Went to art museums often 

and attended performances occasionally 2.1% 

Attended performances often 

and went to art museums occasionally 1.8% 

Both activities often 1.8% 

a These categories were neither given scores nor used in the computation of the combined 
index of socialization (Table 8) because they are constructed by using only two (i.e., atten- 
dance at art museums and performances) of the three exposure experiences. See footnote on 
Table 4. 



14 Socialization 

Table 8. Combined Index of Socialization 



Experienced none of the 

11 socialization activities. 29.5% 

1 Experienced at least 1 and 

as many as 3 different activities 

or 1 experience at age 18-24. (Score 1-3) 24.5% 

2 Experienced at least 1 and 

as many as 6 different activities 

(at youngest age) or 1 experience 

in both 12-17 and 18-24 age groups. 

(Score 4-6) 15.5% 

3 Experienced as many as 

8 different activities or several at 

different age levels. (Score 7-11) 14.0% 

4 Experienced as many as 

8 different activities and/or several 

different activities at later ages or 

in successive age groups. (Score 12 or more) 16.5% 



less than io% had the equivalent of more than two appreciation 
classes during different periods. Almost 6o% say they had never 
been to a concert, play, or art museum during their youth. Only 
about 20% both attended performances and went to art galleries, 
even occasionally. Very few (about 16%) had what we would call 
reasonably deep and broad participation in arts-related activities 

At the happier end of the spectrum, the distribution of all so- 
cialization activities (Table 8) shows that about 70% of all re- 
spondents had some kind of socialization experience, and 23% 
indicate that they have had experiences equivalent to taking art- 
related lessons during all three time-periods covered (Table 5). 

These results suggest that we are a nation that has grown up 
with only marginal involvement in formal or informal training 
and experience in the arts— a discouraging conclusion, especially 
in view of the major efforts of recent years to increase exposure 
to the arts. Is there any comfort to be had from the sppa statistics? 
Indeed there is, for the socialization described as having occurred 
during youth (prior to age 24) was experienced by adults whose 



Socialization 15 

ages varied from 25 to over 62. Data presented in Table 9 shows 
a definite relationship between age and socialization. The older a 
respondent is at the time of the survey, the less likely it is that he/ 
she will have had one of the formal arts-related socialization ex- 
periences. This pattern seems to have evolved continuously over 
the last four decades, as each succeeding age category has appar- 
ently had more arts-related socialization during youth. The one 
exception to this rule is in the area of hearing classical music or 
opera in the home, where there is little difference across age 
groups. 

Care must be taken, however, not to over-interpret these re- 
sults. Some of the differences may be attributable to poor mem- 
ory, since each succeeding age group must go farther back to 
recall relevant experiences. A small number of "Oh yes, I'd for- 
gotten" cases could change the results significantly, because 
many individuals had only one or very few experiences. 

There is still another way to group those 2,678 valid responses. 
We would like to know whether those little girls in tutus went on 
to participate in high-school plays, or if the Boy Scouts also took 
music lessons. To examine this aspect of socialization in the arts, 
we use a multivariate statistical technique called factor analysis. 
Factor analysis is not as daunting as it sounds. It merely asks a 
certain kind of question: Have the people who did activity A also 
done activity B? It repeats the question for all possible pairs, and 
uses the results to indicate the strength of an association among 
groups of activities; in other words, is someone who took ballet 
lessons likely to have visited art museums? Or would that person 
prefer attending concerts? The results of this kind of analysis tell 
us which experiences tend to occur together. 

Seven groups or "factors" were created from that mass of re- 
spondents; five of the factors take both age and subject matter 
into account, demonstrating that both are important. For exam- 
ple, one group of individuals (Factor 1) seems to achieve most of 
its arts-related socialization across a broad spectrum of activities, 
but during only one period (age 18 to 24) of youth. A second 
group (Factor 3) has roughly the same kind of activity pattern as 
Factor 1, but during the high-school years. Two groups are more 
focused, Factor 5 on appreciation classes before the age of 18, and 



i6 



Socialization 



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Socialization 17 

Factor 6 on lessons during grade school. Finally, two groups are 
very focused on subject matter: Factor 4 people take ballet lessons 
at all ages, while those of Factor 7 concentrate on art lessons 
(training) between the ages of 18 and 24. The last group, Factor 
2, consists of people w T ho had significant exposure to the arts 
during all three periods of youth, through visits to art museums 
and attendance at performances, and through hearing classical 
music at home. 

The groups, or "factors," account for less than half of the var- 
iance in socialization activities, w T hich means that most people 
with some experience do not exhibit a regular pattern of arts- 
related socialization. This suggests that much socialization in the 
arts is haphazard. For those individuals whose experience is char- 
acterized by a close relationship with a particular factor, there is 
more of a pattern, but it may also reflect a narrow perspective 
either in terms of content or time. Later we shall see that both 
content and time play important roles in predicting adult arts- 
related behavior. 

Which of these approaches — factor analysis or the indices of 
socialization — would be the most satisfactory basis for subse- 
quent analyses? The choice is obvious: Because many people 
who experienced arts-related socialization cannot be linked to 
any of the seven groups or "factors," the socialization indices are 
more useful. They permit us to take into account all the sociali- 
zation experiences described by the sppa. Factor scores would 
not. Nevertheless, factor analysis can help to explain some of the 
variations in group behavior, as we will see in Chapter 4. 



CHAPTER THREE 



Participation in the Arts 




THE NOTION of "participation in the arts" has a 
democratic ring to it that is especially appropriate 
to our part of the Americas. As the Smithsonian 
Institution proudly declared on one of its posters, 
we are a "nation of nations." The United States has 
been built by peoples who brought with them a rich melange of 
cultural traditions, creating in their homes and local communi- 
ties forms of art not always recognized by the academy. The vast 
numbers of quilt-makers and potters, of folk-singers and square- 
dancers, the itinerant painters, the poets and attic scribblers were 
both creators and consumers of art. In urbanized 20th-century 
America, however, neither the process of acquiring the necessi- 
ties of life nor the need to provide our own entertainment re- 
quires us to engage in arts-related activities. How, then, will the 
arts be supported? 

We as a nation have long believed that, without widespread 
public participation, the arts in America will languish. In 1833 
the American philosopher Margaret Fuller pointed out that there 
has always been a great difference between America and the Old 
World in this matter of patronage of the arts. "When an immortal 
poet was secure of only a few copyists to circulate his works," 
she wrote, "there were princes and nobles to patronize literature 
and the arts. Here is only the public." 1 Today more than ever, 
public participation in arts-related activities is essential, and we 
need to know more about how people come to devote part of 
their leisure time to the arts. 

In order to find out whether there is a relationship between 
early socialization and that indispensable public patronage, we 
must analyze the sppa data for information about the levels and 

1 From an essay by Margaret Fuller in the New York Tribune, 1833. 



20 Participation 

patterns of adult participation. As always, however, measure- 
ment is not easy. We must begin by defining exactly what it is 
that we are measuring. 

In our society, there are three basic types of adult arts-related 
participation: 

•I* Audience participation, where people attend con- 
certs or other live performances, or go to museums and gal- 
leries; 

<• Media-related participation, where people partake 
of arts activities through television, radio, or recordings; 

••• Direct participation, where people are the artists, 
instrumentalists, dancers, or actors. 

The sppa asked people whether they had participated in any of 
those three kinds of activities during the previous year, and if so, 
how often. Analysis of the answers to even such apparently sim- 
ple questions, however, is full of pitfalls. For example, Tables 10 
and ii reveal a surprisingly high level of all three types of partic- 
ipation. There is evidence that some of those numbers may. be 
too high. The design of the questions can lead to confusion be- 
cause they are asked with no qualifiers as to the extent of partic- 



Table 10, Participation during the Previous Year 3 





Live Audience 


Media 


Type of Participation 


Participation 


Participation 


Jazz Performance 


9.6% 


29.2% 


Classical Music 


10.8 


34.8 


Opera 


1.8 


17,1 


Musical Play or Operetta 


18.2 


25.0 


Non-Musical Play 


10.9 


26.1 


Ballet 


3.4 


15.5 


Visited Art Gallery/Art Museum 


21.5 


22.7 


Read Novels, Short 






Stories, Poetry or Plays 


— 


. 56,7 


Attended Art or Craft Fair 


41.1 


— 



3 The participation rates in this Table are based on the November-December 1982 interviews 
and may differ from the typical results of the full survey sample. 



Participation 21 



Table 11. Direct Participation in the Arts during 
the Previous Year 



Type of participation 



Lessons in literature, 
creative writing, art, 
photography, crafts, 
ballet, music, etc. 10.2% 

Pottery, ceramics jewelry 

or similar crafts 12.4 

Weaving, crocheting, quilting, 

needlepoint, sewing or 

similar crafts 34.6 

Musical or non-musical 

play, opera or ballet 

production (not performer) 2.6 

Musical Performance 

(not performer) .8 

Creative writing 

(not course work) 6.7 

.Art Photographs, 
movies or video tapes 10.5 

Painting, drawing, 

sculpture or printmaking 10.3 



ipation or its quality. For example, jazz concerts are not defined, 
and the musical may have been a community theatre production 
of "Annie Get Your Gun." Classical music could include a Bach 
prelude for organ in church, and opera on television might have 
been an aria lasting less than 15 minutes and sung by Luciano 
Pavarotti as part of a variety show. The possibilities are endless: 
Taking art photographs could be interpreted as producing any 
reasonably decent snapshot of flowers in the park. 

Yet another problem can lead to overestimates of participation: 
Some people may have wanted to gain the approval of the inter- 
viewer or enhance their status by answering in the affirmative. 
Even among Margaret Fuller's democratic American public, it is 
good to be seen as a patron of the arts. 

All of these problems bring into question the accuracy of par- 
ticipation estimates and the usefulness of the data for compari- 



22 Participation 

son. Nevertheless, when responses to participation questions are 
compared to other responses, there may be a conservative bias to 
the results; exaggeration of participation should tend to dilute 
relationships between participation and other characteristics such 
as socialization. Thus any positive findings may have been re- 
duced by the extent of exaggeration. 

One technique for overcoming data problems such as these is 
to develop less precise indicators of the behavior being measured, 
that is, to accommodate error in the estimates of participation by 
broadening the categories with which it is measured. The indices 
of participation created in this study are examples of that ap- 
proach. Because it was not possible to measure reliably the level 
of participation within specific activities, the aggregation took 
place across activity categories. For example, attending live per- 
formances was used as the aggregate measure for attending jazz 
concerts, classical concerts, opera, musicals, plays, and/or bal- 
lets. As in the case of the socialization indices, each category was 
assigned a value: Non-attendance equals o; attendance at I or 2 
events of any type equals 1 ; attendance at more than 2 events 
equals 2. Paradoxically, this hierarchical measure of participation 
is both more crude than an accurate count of actual attendance at 
performances, and more accurate because it absorbs some mea- 
sure of exaggeration. 

Ten indices of adult arts-related participation were developed, 
and the distribution of responses is reported in Table 12. Each 
index has slightly different values, which explains the varying 
number and location of blank spaces on the table. For some ac- 
tivities such as ballet, even aggregating several related activities 
did not create a large group of high-level participants, so there 
are two blank spaces. For others, particularly those activities that 
include television, the rate of participation includes well over half 
the respondents. But because the questions asked only whether 
people had attended performances once or more than once dur- 
ing the past year, these indices are only approximate measures, 
and respondents in the same category may have very different 
rates of participation. Nevertheless, the indices are sufficiently 
accurate to support an analysis of the relationship between so- 
cialization and current adult participation, without fear of mis- 
leading results. 



Participation 23 

As we have seen, the pattern of socialization in the arts tends 
to be related to the age of the people who answered the sppa ques- 
tionnaire, with younger respondents reporting more lessons, ap- 
preciation classes, and attendance at arts-related activities than 
those who were older when the questions were asked. Do adults 
have similarly different patterns of participation in arts-related 
activities, depending on age? sppa data provides some answers to 
the question, interesting because they probably correspond to 
conventional wisdom on the subject. It comes as no surprise, for 
example, that younger people are more likely to participate in 
jazz-related activities than are older people. Gallery and museum 
attendance is more popular in the middle groups (not to be con- 
fused with middle age). Older people are evidently more inter- 
ested in the performing arts, except for the oldest group, where 
participation declines; age in excess of 62 years seems to curtail 
activities away from home. Media-related participation follows 
the same general pattern, although the relationship is weaker. 

Figure 1 graphically presents the relationship of age to each of 
the participation indices. The lines show a general downward 
slope with increasing age, with some exceptions in intermediate 
age groups. The steady decline is most noticeable in those activ- 
ities involving direct participation in the arts as artist or per- 
former. The other kinds of activities show a characteristic hump, 
indicating increased participation in the middle age groups and a 
renewed downward slope for the upper age group. 

Unfortunately, the sppa data cannot explain the differences in 
participation at various ages. Can the "hump" in the intermediate 
age groups be attributed to factors such as more disposable in- 
come? Are the oldest people simply less interested in participat- 
ing, or are they physically less able to do so? Does the decline in 
participation by those in the oldest age group reflect their lower 
levels of socialization in the arts? How can we explain the fact 
that, in each of the ten participation indices, younger people are 
not more likely to participate in the arts? 

For most adults, participation in the arts is a leisure-time activ- 
ity, and it is possible that people from differing generations have 
differing patterns of leisure behavior, depending on socialization 
or other factors. 

Although we cannot come to any conclusions about genera- 



24 Participation 



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4r - Er - D ^"> 18-94'vrs 9^-31 vrs 32-42 vrs. 43-61 vrs. 62+ vrs. 



Participation 27 

tional patterns, we can learn something by applying the factor 
analysis techniques used in the study of socialization. In addition 
to arts-related activities, general leisure activities like going to 
the movies, sports, exercise, etc., were included on the sppa 
questionnaire. This permits us to examine arts-related activities 
in the context of all leisure-time pursuits, and to identify the ex- 
tent of crossover between the arts and other types of activities. 

Again, the results are somewhat discouraging for those of us 
who are dedicated to the arts. By far the largest group of people 
surveyed — those who are part of a general standard leisure-activ- 
ities group — do not participate in any arts-related activities in 
their spare time. 2 In fact, about half the sample (and the general 
population) does not have a highly-structured pattern of leisure 
activity. People relax in many different ways, but most do noth- 
ing beyond watching television with enough regularity to be 
considered part of a group. 

There are, however, small groups of people who have fairly 
regular leisure habits, and some of these groups are heavily ori- 
ented towards the arts. It is interesting that only two of the fac- 
tors are mixed, revealing crossover patterns where people spend 
concentrated leisure time on activities as diverse as going to mu- 
seums and gardening. 

Analysis of patterns of adult participation in the arts and of the 
use of leisure time in general thus reveals that, apart from the 
large group that has no particular pattern of leisure activity at 
all, 3 there is little mixing of the arts with other leisure behaviors 
in a patterned or regular way. 

The results also reveal an unhappy fact: The arts have a small 
group of devotees, but in general they are hard-pressed to com- 
pete with other leisure activities for the attention of the public. 

2 This result parallels an earlier study that identified a general popular leisure 
factor. Using slightly different techniques, the earlier study also found a large 
portion of the sample (about half) to have no specific leisure pattern. See the 
Appendix for references to more details on this study. 

J Diversity of leisure activity does not exclude the possibility of some occa- 
sional arts-related activity, but simply indicates such irregularity that no clear 
pattern can be said to exist. 



CHAPTER FOUR 



The Relationship Between Socialization and 
Participation in the Arts 




THE BASIC SOCIALIZATION MODEL pre- 
dicts that people with positive socialization expe- 
riences in a given kind of activity will be more 
likely to participate in that same kind of activity as 
adults. The idea is not new; indeed, many of us are 
familiar with the quotation from a poem by Alexander Pope, 
who wrote: " 'Tis education forms the common mind: Just as 
the twig is bent the tree's inclined." 1 Pope and the modern-day 
sociologist are expressing, each in his own way, a tenet of com- 
mon wisdom. But does that tenet hold true in the case of the 
relationship between socialization and participation in the arts? 
Analysis of the sppa data can answer that question in broad, gen- 
eral terms; it can also refine considerably our understanding of 
the efficiency of various types of socialization in promoting later 
participation. 

Six categories of socialization are explored in order to assess 
their relationship to adult participation in the arts. They include 
four kinds of lessons (music, visual arts, other arts such as ballet, 
drama, writing, and crafts, and appreciation classes) and two 
kinds of audience-related activities (home exposure to the arts, 
and attendance at performances or visits to galleries and muse- 
ums). In each case, the results of the sppa data provide strong 
evidence supporting the hypothesis of Pope, the sociologists, 
and common wisdom across a broad range of activities. 

Understanding the information presented in Figures 2, 3, and 

1 Alexander Pope's Moral Essays: In Four Epistles to Several Persons was first 
published in London in 178 1. For a modern edition, see the same work under the 
title Epistles to Several Persons, Introduction and notes by James E. Wellington 
(Coral Gables, Florida: University of Miami Press, [1963]). 



% 

75 
70 



60 



50 — 



40 



30 



20 



10 



Classical music 



/ 



/ 



/ 



/ 



Opera 




KEY TO GROUPS 

No music lessons 

Music lessons 
before age 1 2 

Music lessons ages 
2-17 

Music lessons ages 

i 8-24 

Music lessons 
before age 12, and 
iges 12-17 

Music lessons 
>etore age 12, and 
iecs 18-24 

Music lessons ages 
12-17, and 18-24 

8 Music lessons in 
all three age groups 



GROUP 1 



4 



8 



% 

65 

60 



50 



40 - 



30 



20 



10 



KEY TO GROUPS 



1 No music lessons 



2 Music lessons 
before age 12 



3 Music lessons ages 
12-17 

4 Music lessons ages 
18-24 

5 Music lessons 
before age 12, and 
ages 12-17 

6 Music lessons 
before age 12, and 
ages 18-24 



Music lessons ages 
12-17, and 18-24 

8 Music lessons in 
all three age groups 



A 

M 
M 

f \ 

/ 



i » 



Musicals 



/ / Classical music 




rnAim 1 



O 



7 



8 



32 The Relationship 

4 is perhaps more complicated than it looks, and it is important 
to specify exactly who we are talking about when we read the 
figure horizontally and vertically. The horizontal dimension has 
grouped respondents into eight groups. The groups are the same 
in all the figures. Anyone who belongs to one group (those who 
only took music lessons prior to age 12, for example) is auto- 
matically excluded from all the other groups. When we read the 
figure vertically, however, we are focusing on the percentage of 
people in one category of socialization who participate in each 



% 

40 



30 



20 



10 







KEY TO CROUPS 

1 No music lessons 

2 Music lessons 
before age 12 

3 Music lessons ages 

12-17 

4 Music lessons ages 

18-24 

5 Music lessons 
before age 12, and 
ages 12-17 

6 Music lessons 
before age 12, and 
ages 18-24 

7 Music lessons ages 
12-17, and 18-24 

8 Music lessons in 
all three age groups 









l 
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1 



3 



4 



7 



8 



Figure 4 The Relationship of Music Lessons to Performing Music 



34 The Relationship 

slightly different pattern emerges. Figure 3 shows that attending 
classical concerts increases with the experience of lessons, but 
differs little based on the age at which lessons occurred — until we 
reach lessons in multiple time-periods that include people 1 8 to 
24 years old (the last three groups). 

The uneven or varying patterns for different types ot partici- 
pation indicate that the effects of socialization are uneven, and 
suggest the influence of other factors such as the quality of the 
socialization experience or the interaction of quality with age. 
Furthermore, opera and other activities that are attended by a 
small proportion of the population present a problem in statisti- 
cal reliability because of the small number of respondents. For 
those activities, it is probably best to look at trends across several 
socialization characteristics to determine if they exhibit a com- 
mon pattern. 

A second perspective on the relationship between socialization 
and current participation is provided by Figure 5. Adult music- 
related participation has been aggregated into a single index. The 
music participation level is then compared to each music-lesson 
socialization category and shown on four bars. The results reflect 
those of Figures 2 to 4. As one moves from left to right, the total 
length of all four bars gets longer, indicating generally higher 
levels of participation. This is the expected result, because the 
index of musical activity is a condensed aggregate of all types of 
music participation activities, as shown on Figures 2 to 4. 

But there is something different about the bar graph. It shows 
clearly that increased socialization (represented by movement 
from left to right across the graph) leads to a second type of in- 
creased participation. Notice how the three bars on the right in 
each group get progressively bigger. This shows that people who 
had music lessons when they were 18 to 24 years old are more 
likely to participate in multiple activities as adults; the difference 
in participation shows up most vividly in Groups 4, 5, 6, and 7, 
where these people are concentrated. Those with lessons in all 
three periods of youth are much more likely to be frequent par- 
ticipants as adults. This pattern is repeated many times for each 
rvne of socialization and participation. 



The Relationship 33 

activity as adults. We learn from Figure 2 that among those who 
only took music lessons prior to age 12, (Group 2), more than 
40% said that they listened to classical music on television, radio, 
and recordings. About 37% said they listened to jazz, 22% said 
they attended musicals, etc. But when we add up the percentages 
on the vertical columns of the figures, the total is more than 
100%. Clearly, there is some overlap here. Some of those people 
who only took music lessons prior to age 12 are participating in 
more than one music-related activity as adults. Nevertheless, the 
40% who listen to classical music may not be the same people 
who attend musicals. 

Childhood music lessons are good predictors of adult partici- 
pation in music activities. Indeed, the more music lessons people 
had prior to age 24, the more likely they are to spend some of 
their leisure time on music. For example, the participation rate 
for those with music lessons during all three periods of youth is 
at least three times greater than for those with no music lessons, 
and can be more than 100 times greater. Having had lessons only 
before turning 12 means an increased adult participation rate 
varying from 10% to more than 100%. If lessons were the only 
predictor of the rate of participation, their impact could be con- 
sidered very strong; however, conclusions about causal relation- 
ships must be tempered by the fact that little is known about 
other variables that act in combination with, or outside the effect 
of lessons. 

Specific patterns of adult participation may differ according to 
activity, represented by the percentage scale. The differences in 
percentage show that, for one adult activity — listening to classi- 
cal music on television, radio, or recordings — the increase from 
Group 1 (no music lessons) across the following seven groups of 
socialization experiences is almost unbroken. The relationship 
between these two activities (socialization and adult participa- 
tion) is stronger as the age at which lessons occurred increases, 
and as the number of time-periods in which lessons were taken 
increases. In other words, long-term experience with music les- 
sons during childhood and youth predicts an adult participation 
rate almost three times that for people who had no music lessons. 

If a second activity line is tracked across lesson categories, a 



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26 The Relationship 

The pattern inferred from these results consists of two parts: 

*l* Having some socialization in an art-related activity 
will be associated with a higher probability of adult partici- 
pation in a similar activity; 

••• The greater the level of socialization (as measured 
by the index), the higher the level of adult participation will 
be. 

Analysis of the sppa data reveals that music lessons during 
childhood and youth markedly increase adult participation in ac- 
tivities focused on music. Is there a similarly strong relationship 
between socialization in the other arts and later participation? 

In general, the relationship between art lessons and adult par- 
ticipation in visual arts looks very much like the pattern for mu- 
sic: Adult participation in most activities increases as levels of 
socialization increase. For example,- as the level of art lessons in- 
creases within age groups and across several time periods of 
childhood and youth, the level of adult activity in which the in- 
dividual actually produces a work of art also increases. The ab- 
sence of art lessons while growing up markedly reduces later art- 
related activities; almost half of the people with no lessons spent 
their leisure time on something other than art. By contrast, only 
8% of those who had art lessons when they were 1 8 to 24 years 
old failed to participate in visual arts activities, and everyone who 
had lessons in all three periods of youth participated. Moreover, 
there is a steady increase across lesson groups for the proportion 
with the highest visual arts activity. The one exception is that 
those who had lessons when they were 18 to 24 years old have a 
higher rate of participation than those who had lessons from 12 
to 17 and before they were 12 years old. 

There is another, new dimension to the results: Where the vi- 
sual arts are concerned, the age at which the socialization expe- 
riences occurred is very important. For three of the six art-related 
activities, taking art lessons between the ages of 18 and 24 is a 
stronger indicator of adult participation than having lessons be- 
fore age 12 or between ages 12 and 17. And for five of six adult 
activities, having lessons during adolescence is a stronger indi- 
cator of later participation than lessons prior to age 12. Knowing 



The Relationship 37 

when art lessons occurred provides additional information about 
the likelv effect on adult behavior. 

When we analyze the data for lessons in the other arts — acting, 
ballet, writing, and crafts — the basic relationship remains the 
same: If you had lessons while growing up, you are more likely 
to participate in that activity as an adult. But the effect of lessons 
at an older age varies somewhat in these categories of adult par- 
ticipation. For example, for ballet dancers the age at which les- 
sons occurred is less important than taking those lessons in more 
than one time period prior to age 24. For those who took creative 
writing lessons, age is more important for later activities such as 
reading and attending performance, but less important for actu- 
ally writing literature, drama, or poetry. On the other hand, the 
age at which lessons were taken is extremely important for pre- 
dicting adult participation in crafts. 

Lessons teach students how to participate in the arts as artists 
or performers, but not as patrons. Another strategy exists to so- 
cialize young people who might become adult patrons or con- 
sumers of the arts created or performed by others. In the absence 
of princes and noblemen to support the arts, those who appreci- 
ate them are very important people. Can arts appreciation 
classes, like art lessons, effectively train the consumers of art? 
Again, there is no data in the sppa that permits us to draw cause- 
and-effect conclusions about the relationship between arts appre- 
ciation classes and later participation. We can evaluate a widely- 
held assumptiom_however, one that declares that individuals 
who had appreciation classes are more likely to participate in re- 
lated activities than are those who had no such classes. 

Not surprisingly, the sppa data supports that assumption; by 
now, the general pattern is clear. Nevertheless, there are some 
differences between the effects of lessons and of appreciation 
classes on adult participation in the arts. The strongest relation- 
ship exists between appreciation classes in the visual arts and later 
attendance at events such as museum exhibitions; again, in- 
creased socialization increases adult participation. 2 For those who 

2 The reader is reminded that classes taken when older, or taken more fre- 
quently, increase the level of socialization. 



38 The Relationship 

become artists or performers, however, taking appreciation 
classes between the ages of 18 and 24 appears to be less important 
than it was in the case of lessons. Adult participation rates for 
crafts people, painters, and sculptors, for example, actually de- 
cline for those who took appreciation classes during that period. 

The effect of arts appreciation classes on all adult participation 
in visual arts activities repeats the earlier pattern. Although more 
modest, there is an increased level of participation associated 
with socialization experiences occurring later or more fre- 
quently; in other words, more classes, or classes when older, 
mean a higher level of adult participation. 3 

There is also a positive relationship between music apprecia- 
tion classes and adult participation, but it may be somewhat 
weaker than in the case of the visual arts. The effect of apprecia- 
tion classes taken before the age of 12, for example, is negligible 
for most activities. 4 Participation rates increase significantly for 
those who took such classes during their high-school years, but 
the increase for college-age classes is not as strong. Furthermore, 
those who had classes during more than one period apparently 
do not participate at a higher rate than those with classes in a 
single period. 

Does the same pattern persist when we look at the sppa data on 
youthful participation as consumers of the arts? Respondents 
were asked about exposure to three types of arts events: visiting 
art galleries and museums, attending performances (classical 
concerts, ballet, and drama), and hearing classical music or opera 
in the home. 

In the case of music, general results again confirm the expec- 
tation that this type of socialization has a positive relationship to 
adult participation. Apparently, early exposure "rubs off," or is 
associated with other socialization activities that have a combined 
effect on later participation, but the effects are not uniform. For 
example, those who indicated that they heard classical music or 
opera "often" were not more likely to attend concerts as adults; 

3 In this instance, level of participation means a greater -variety of visual arts 
activities, or more activity in one or two areas. 

4 Note that, because of the small number of people involved, the sample of this 
group could not be tested separately. 



The Relationship 39 

but they were likely to enjoy media versions (television, radio, or 
recordings) of their favorite musical activities more often than 
people who had only occasional exposure when they were 
young. 

Visiting art galleries or attending performances is another type 
of audience socialization, and the question asked by the sppa fo- 
cused on how often the experience occurred. Once again, the 
data demonstrates that adult participation increases with higher 
levels of early socialization. The strength of the relationship var- 
ies with different types of activities. It is strongest when the in- 
dividual participated in identical behavior (such as visiting art 
galleries or watching television shows about the visual arts) both 
in youth and adulthood. It is much weaker when the adult is ac- 
tually creating art; in this case, the behavior required is very dif- 
ferent from the socialization experience as consumer of art. 

What effect does the frequency of socialization experience as au- 
dience have on adult participation in the arts? To begin with, the 
frequency of visits to art galleries before age 24 has little or no 
bearing on whether an individual will later create works of art. 
Nor does it affect the index of adult visual-arts activities. Simi- 
larly, frequency of socialization experience in music has only a 
slight relationship to levels of adult activity. When early atten- 
dance is compared to the index of adult attendance at live perfor- 
mances (a comparison of relatively similar activities), it becomes 
clear that, although it helps to have had these socialization expe- 
riences, it makes little difference if people had them frequently 
or infrequently. 

When youthful experiences as audience for art are combined 
into a single index, there is no change in the strength or shape of 
the relationship to later participation in the arts. Once again, 
while adult attendance increases if children had socialization ex- 
periences, the frequency of those experiences makes little differ- 
ence to the level of adult participation. In other words, more is 
not better. 

So far, the sppa data allows us to come to four conclusions: 



••• Any socialization in the arts is likely to be reflected 
in higher rates of adult participation in related activities; 



40 The Relationship 



<• For many activities, the age of socialization is an 
important predictor, especially socialization that occurred 
during the years between 18 and 24 (college age); 

♦t* Activities which socialize young people to be con- 
sumers of art are good predictors of later participation as 
audience, but not as good predictors of participation as artist 
or performer; and 

•!• Lessons and appreciation classes are much more 
closely related to high levels of adult participation than are 
audience-socialization activities. 

Important as these conclusions are, there is more to be learned 
from those useful tools called indices. Up to this point, we have 
been examining the relationships between individual adult activ- 
ities and socialization experiences. Indices allow us to analyze 
more general indicators. Here, we are comparing indices of so- 
cialization (early arts-related experience) with indices of current 
participation. The results parallel those for individuals. For ex- 
ample, we know that for individuals, "more is better," and we 
expect that people with higher levels of socialization will also 
have higher levels of participation in the arts as adults. The in- 
dices also show the effects of multiple socialization experiences. 
Indeed, as the level of socialization in the arts increases, the ab- 
solute level of adult participation in arts-related activities goes 
continually upward, from 27.5% to 92.8%. At the same time, as 
the level of socialization goes up, the proportion of people who 
participate frequently also rises. This relationship is true for all 
four indices of current adult participation. 

But those adults who responded to the sppa questionnaire var- 
ied in age from 18 to 95, and the earlier analysis of socialization 
and participation showed that age made some differences. 
Younger people had higher socialization levels, and participation 
levels varied according to the age of respondents, creating a com- 
plex pattern depending on the subject and type of activity in- 
volved. We should, therefore, analyze the effects of age on the 
relationship between socialization and participation. 

It would be very tedious to run through all of the foregoing 
analyses for each age group. Fortunately, there is a shorthand 



The Relationship 41 

technique for describing the magnitude of relationships between 
socialization and participation. It is called "correlation analysis," 
and simple correlations show how closely related a pair of char- 
acteristics is. Making these kinds of comparisons will permit us 
to assess the "effects" of socialization across age groups, and 
across categories of socialization and/or participation. 

In this analysis, the strength of relationships is expressed by 
Spearman Rank Order coefficients (Rho) ranging from - 1 to 
+ 1. Minus 1 indicates an inverse relationship: As the value of 
one characteristic goes up, the other comes down. Zero indicates 
that there is no relationship between pairs of characteristics: A 
change in the value of one has no effect on the value of another. 
A perfect positive relationship (every change in the value of one 
characteristic corresponds to a precisely proportional change in 
the other) is expressed by +1. In the social sciences, where be- 
havior is usually the result of a complex set of circumstances, 
correlations of about .3 are acceptable, .5 is good, and .7 or .8 
may be too good to be believable, especially if only two charac- 
teristics are being compared. 

A matrix of correlation coefficients is used to describe the re- 
lationship between pairs of socialization experiences and current 
adult participation activities. In this matrix, a single number sum- 
marizes all of the results, albeit with some loss of information. 
For example, for individuals from 1.8 to 24 years old, the corre- 
lation coefficient of .25 tells us that there is a moderate positive 
relationship between childhood attendance at arts events and cre- 
ating art as an adult. However, we also find that for people be- 
tween 43 and 62 years old the coefficient is only .16; therefore, 
the relationship between childhood attendance at arts events and 
creating art as an adult is not as strong as it was for the 18- to 24- 
year-olds. Other kinds of information emerge from such anal- 
yses; for example, for people who are aged 62 + , childhood at- 
tendance at arts events is a much better predictor of adult partic- 
ipation at music events than of actually creating art. 

The correlations reveal many such differences. Indeed, one of 
the most persistent differences is that correlations between so- 
cialization and adult participation are often lower in the oldest 



42 The Relationship 

age group. Is it possible that the effects of socialization have worn 
off by the time an individual reaches age 62? 

A second pattern reveals that correlations for creating visual or 
literary art are usually highest for the youngest respondents, 
those between 18 and 24 years old. Can we explain this because 
young people are much closer to their classes and the age when 
there are more opportunities for experimentation? As this age 
group assumes responsibility for jobs and families, will it be- 
come more difficult to maintain relatively high levels of activity 
in these areas? 

A third general pattern reveals another prominent difference 
associated with the age of respondents. Middle-aged people (43 
to 62 years old) are most likely to engage in sedentary audience 
activities. The delay in embarking on this kind of participation 
may be the result of changing socio-economic status and the 
aging of their children. 

In some cases there is very little difference across age groups. 
For example, age does not seem to matter much when it comes 
to engaging in all visual arts activities prior to the age of 62. In 
other areas, such as creating art or attending musical perfor- 
mances, there are wide differences, depending on the age of re- 
spondents. 

Thus we may conclude that the role played by the age of the 
respondents varies more with the type of adult activity than with 
the level or type of socialization experience. 

The data allows us to make another point about the relation- 
ship of socialization to participation. The correlations between 
early lessons and adult creation of art are much higher than be- 
tween either attendance or appreciation classes and similar adult 
participation. Furthermore, correlations between attendance or 
appreciation classes during youth, and adult attendance at arts- 
related events are not higher than the correlations between les- 
sons and current attendance. These analyses reveal clearly that 
lessons in the arts are the strongest predictor of subsequent par- 
ticipation. It seems that "learning to do" is a better approach to 
socialization than "learning about." 

Nevertheless, we must be cautious: Other factors, such as so- 
cio-economic status and demographics, play a role in determin- 



The Relationship 43 

ing the effect of socialization on adult participation. Indeed, fac- 
tor analysis which took those characteristics into account reveals 
that there are no strong connections between specific socializa- 
tion and participation characteristics — at least none that are 
stronger than the internal relationships (that is, relationships 
within either the participation or socialization characteristics). 
Nor are there any overriding predictors of either socialization or 
participation among socio-demographic characteristics. Thus, 
while it is possible to identify relationships between individual 
experiences, much of the variance in current adult participation 
remains unexplained in terms of socialization or socio-demo- 
graphic characteristics. The unexplained variance is probably 
largely the result of the complex development of attitudes to- 
wards leisure activities and the interaction of those attitudes and 
other key factors in people's lives. 



CHAPTER FIVE 



Contrary Cases 



ANALYSIS OF THE DATA from the Survey of 
Public Participation in the Arts has so far focused 
on the behavior of the majority in each of the sub- 
groups identified. The sppa data allows us to define 
two kinds of majorities, one that participates in the 
arts as adults, and one that does not: 




•♦• If a sub-group is composed of people with signifi- 
cant socialization in the arts, the majority of that group con- 
tinues to participate. 

•w* If a sub-group consists of individuals with no so- 
cialization experiences during childhood and youth, the ma- 
jority of that group does not participate in the arts as adults. 

But what do we know about the minority in each of those cases, 
those with high levels of socialization who no longer participate, 
or those with no socialization who now, as adults, dedicate at 
least part of their leisure time to arts-related activities? 

Why do some people behave differently from the majority? To 
find out, we will employ something called "exception analysis." 
But we cannot possibly examine all of the factors that contribute 
to these differences. Indeed, the data provided by the sppa per- 
mits us to analyze only a few characteristics of the minorities in 
each category. 

Of the three types of variables examined in this study — social- 
ization, participation, and socio-demographic characteristics — 
only the third provides. a basis for comparison of majority and 
minority respondents in each sub-group. Specifically, the re- 
search question being asked is this: How do the minority re- 
spondents — the contrary cases — on a particular participation 
question differ socio-demographically from the majority re- 
spondents? For example, are the 2% of unsocialized opera-atten- 



46 Contrary Cases 

ders richer, better-educated, or more likely to live m cities than 
the majority of unsocialized respondents who do not attend op- 
era? 

To answer the research question, we must first establish what 
constitutes a majority-minority situation. In terms of percent- 
ages, a 51-49 split would not be significant. Instead, this study- 
assumes a 70% to 30% split. In other words, wherever there is a 
strong relationship between socialization and participation, a set 
of contrary cases exists. Thus for each question on current adult 
participation, at least 70% of the respondents must have been so- 
cialized at a specific level, or have had no socialization experi- 
ences at all. 

Secondly, the socio-demographic characteristics of the two 
groups — majority and minority — must be compared. Seven so- 
cio-demographic factors are significant: age, income, marital sta- 
tus, race, sex, education, and the size of the community in which 
the respondent lives. x 

Who, then, are the unsocialized participators? They share four 
key characteristics: 



* They are almost always better-educated than the 
majority, the unsocialized non-participators. 

♦t* They usually have a higher income, but often their 
current arts-related activities do not require money to sup- 
port participation (instead of attending the opera, they 
watch it on television). 

*l* If they are involved in jazz-related activities, or are 
creating art, they are younger than the majority. 

*!* They are more likely to live in urban areas, even 
when participation would not be affected by the availability 
of arts-related facilities such as concert halls, dance studios, 
or museums. 

1 For each factor, the mean value for participants and nonparticipants is com- 
pared using a t-test to estimate the probability that sample differences are statis- 
tically different in the population. Because a large number of tests (64 x 7 varia- 
bles) were performed, a very stringent probability (p < .005) was used to judge 
significance. Therefore, where differences are reported, they are very likely to 
represent real diflerences in the total population. 



Contrary Cases 47 

The opposites of the unsocialized participators are, of course, 
the socialized nonparticipants, and, as might be expected, these 
nonparticipants often exhibit the opposite characteristics. They 
tend to have less education, to live in more rural areas, and to be 
slightly older. 

The results for socialized nonparticipants are different from 
the results for unsocialized participants in another way. Of 18 
current activities on the indices, eight show no differences on any 
of the seven socio-demographic factors. Whatever it is that keeps 
highly-socialized individuals away from the arts-related activities 
enjoyed by at least 70% of people socialized like them, it is not 
explained by the socio-demographic characteristics examined 
here. Could these contrary individuals be representative of the 
problem of imprecise measurement? The lack of precise qualita- 
tive or quantitative measurements of socialization experiences 
may have grouped them erroneously with respondents who had 
more or better socialization experiences. Or perhaps these 
highly-socialized people no longer enjoy the particular activity. 
The little girls dancing in tutus may have become women who 
would rather go canoeing. 



CHAPTER SIX 



Art, Artists, and the Public 




NOW THAT WE KNOW something concrete 
about the relationship between socialization in the 
arts and later participation in arts-related activities, 
how can we put that knowledge to use? What can 
be done to increase enjoyment of the arts among 
our fellow-citizens who, as we have seen, have been only margin- 
ally exposed to the excitement, joy, and practical rewards of mu- 
sic, drama, dance, and the visual arts? 

The easiest way to increase participation would be to provide 
opportunities for people who have expressed a desire to spend 
more of their leisure time on arts-related activities. Is there un- 
satisfied demand for more opportunities to participate in the arts? 
The sppa revealed that demand always exceeds levels of current 
participation, but, depending on the activity, it varies greatly in 
intensity. For example, no less than 32.7% of respondents would 
like to attend more musicals, but only 7.6% expressed an interest 
in seeing more opera. 

Based on the expressed desire for more participation, how 
many people might attend arts-related events in the future? We 
can estimate their numbers by adding current participants to 
nonparticipants who expressed an interest in attending. The re- 
sults suggest that there are significant opportunities to increase 
participation; we learn, for example, that it might be possible to 
increase the audience for opera by 365%, provided that there 
were no barriers to participation. 

But there are barriers to realizing the desire for increased par- 
ticipation, some external and others self-generated. Not every- 
one who would like to attend four operas instead of one will be 
able to do so. Therefore, the real potential for an increase in at- 
tendance is probably much smaller, closer to current rates of par- 
ticipation in each activity. 



50 Art, Artists and the Public 

What is the effect of socialization on demand for increased par- 
ticipation? Surprisingly, it is not a major factor, except indirectly. 
Demand for more participation in arts-related activities is much 
greater among current participants (ranging from 50% to 68%) 
than it is among those who do not now participate (ranging from 
only 7% to 25%). We already know that socialization is related 
to higher levels of participation; thus we might expect current 
participants to demand opportunities for more participation. 
There is also somewhat heavier demand for increased participa- 
tion among those non-participants who had more socialization 
experiences than others in their group. Both groups, however, 
reported barriers to increased participation. 

The sppa identified 21 different barriers to attendance at seven 
types of events. Three of them — -time, cost, and lack of availabil- 
ity — were cited most frequently. Barriers associated with health 
problems were the most common only for the older age groups. 

No matter which arts-related activity is chosen by those who 
want to increase their participation, the cost in time and money 
of doing so is of major importance. The fact that visiting art gal- 
leries is often free is reflected in a lower proportion of respond- 
ents mentioning cost as a barrier, and a higher proportion men- 
tioning time. 

Sometimes, the barriers to increased participation are external: 
People may work so hard that there is literally no time for leisure 
pursuits of any sort. Similarly, some people may earn so little 
money that all "costly" leisure activities are prohibitive. In other 
cases, however, people are making choices about the use of their 
leisure time and discretionary funds that amount to the establish- 
ment of priorities, whether consciously or unconsciously. 

The existence of priorities implies value judgments. If people 
have made such choices in the past, particularly with regard to 
the use of time, it is doubtful that those choices will change un- 
less there is a change in attitude. Therefore, demand for increased 
participation must surely be discounted to the extent that real- 
choice behavior has determined participation in the past. 

Can attitudes be changed? The sppa data offers an intriguing 
possibility. The logic of the results implies that, because higher 
levels of socialization are associated with higher levels of adult 



Art, Artists and the Public 51 

participation in arts-related activities, and because demand for 
increased participation is greatest among those who already par- 
ticipate, increased efforts to socialize young people in the arts 
might lead eventually to a change in attitudes. 

The implications of these results for policy and program de- 
sign are significant. If higher levels of current adult participation 
are a goal, then inducing higher levels of socialization may be one 
key to achieving that goal. Although the sppa does not provide 
sufficiently reliable and unambiguous data to support conclu- 
sions about direct causal linkages, we do know that socialization, 
especially certain activities such as having lessons, is strongly as- 
sociated with current participation and with the demand for 
more participation among current participants and non-partici- 
pants alike. We also know that people who had lessons later in 
life (ages 18 to 24) are likely to participate more than those who 
had their training while very young. In terms of designing train- 
ing programs, maximum effect is possible only if the training is 
continuous, or at least occurs over several different timeframes. 
Training that occurs only once and at a young age will have the 
least effect on adult participation. 

There are at least two possible explanations for this pattern. 
Training received only a few years ago is more likely to have an 
effect than training received 20 or 30 years ago. Other analyses 
show that the correlation between socialization and participation 
decreases somewhat with age. Second, training that takes place 
between the ages of 18 and 24 is more likely to be voluntary, and 
therefore reflects the real interests of the individual. Because it is 
something people want to do, they are more likely to continue 
to pursue it in later life. Thus a program that offers the oppor- 
tunity for later training during youth is more likely to produce 
more patrons and practitioners of the arts than programs offered 
at an earlier age. 

There is very little known about the quality of earlier sociali- 
zation experiences, and therefore we cannot argue for programs 
that include involuntary features like training quotas. The pro- 
cess at work is complex enough to make it impossible to tell ex- 
actly how socialization influences later behavior. There are several 
possibilities, however. Socialization may instill a real love for the 



52 Art, Artists and the Public 

arts, or an intellectual connection of the sort that draws the for- 
mer piano student to piano recitals to admire the technical skill 
being demonstrated. Feelings of guilt may be important in cases 
where individuals were indoctrinated with the idea that they 
should enjoy the arts; they might be the once- or twice-a-year 
audience. A kind of guilt may also drive parents to expose their 
children to the arts, thereby accounting for considerable atten- 
dance at performances, and probably much of the participation 
as audience for recordings and for arts-related programs on tele- 
vision and radio. Of course all of these possible linkages are af- 
fected by current environmental factors such as cost, family sit- 
uation, availability, and social pressures, among others. Even if 
we assume for the moment that the relational results described 
here represent some kind of causal link, it is clear that most of 
the variance in current participation is still unexplained. In other 
words, we know only a small part of why people participate in 
arts-related activities. 

In the light of these considerations, it is difficult to identify a 
policy that will have a high probability of furthering the goal of 
increasing adult participation. It is even difficult to target the ap- 
propriate population group. Using the logic that "more is bet- 
ter," should we target those already being socialized in the arts? 
Or should we select those not receiving any socialization, on the 
assumption that it is more important to take the first and most 
basic step towards increased participation? The latter approach 
assumes that other factors, not even considered in the present 
study, are not driving socialization results or at least operating as 
catalysts. Given the nature of the data from the Survey of Public 
Participation in the Arts, these remain unanswerable questions.